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3 minute readNew Energy Productivity Metric Announced For Data Centers

The Green Grid has announced a new metric for assessing what is “useful work” in a data center. 

Traffic in global data centers is expected to triple from 2012 to 2017.  While these data centers are improving in efficiency, total energy use is still expected to rise.  Demand for data center operations is increasing dramatically.  With this rapid escalation in demand comes an escalation in energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.  

Of course, any storage devices will consume energy.  This energy is used to store data, and the process can become inefficient if left unmonitored. 

Because of these dire environmental effects, a global task force was assembled to address data center efficiency.  This task force has now agreed on standards for measuring and reporting data center energy production (DCeP).  These new metrics have been in development for five years.  Now that an agreement has finally been reached, the industry can move past the previous Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) benchmark.  The new metric is more detailed and considers other factors including measurements applied to the businesses themselves. 

DCeP provides the ability to quantify useful work produced by a data center.  This measurement is based on the amount of energy consumed.  The Green Grid, which is responsible for creating this new metric, is experienced in this field.  The previous PUE metric was also developed by The Green Grid.  PUE compares the total power usage of a facility with the power actually used by the IT equipment.  The PUE was helpful for measuring the amount of power lost in distribution and conversion. 

The Definition of Productivity

The Green Grid ran into problems associated with the differences in the operation of online businesses and how they measure useful work.  The development processed commenced in 2009.  By 2012, an agreement was reached on the following metrics – Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE), Energy Reuse Factor (EFF), and Green Energy Coefficient (GEC).  These metrics are in addition to the measurement protocol and guidelines of PUE, which remains the most standard way for measuring data center efficiency.  The problem is that PUE does not provide a complete picture. 

In such a diverse environment, measuring productivity can be difficult.  PUE provides a very basic measurement.  However, as businesses become more diverse, the PUE metric became less relevant.  

The Green Grid and the global task force have now agreed on a more flexible and relevant metric.  The DCeP computes useful work divided by the total energy a data center consumes.  This allows users to define useful work as it is applicable to each different business.  This allows for the creation of a custom metric better suited for the needs of individual businesses. 

At the outset, inconsistencies are inevitable.  Overtime, thee inconsistencies should become minimized as the industry adapts to the new metrics. 

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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